Muddy Buddy of Virginia, L.L.C.
1485 General Booth Blvd., Suite 105
Virginia Beach, VA  23454-5102
(757) 321-PAWS (7297)

How Often Should I Bathe

The arguments against washing your dog too often are generally about stripping the coat of natural oils. The more often you wash something, the more often the sebum (oil) is going to be removed.  That argument is also valid for washing your dog.  A certain amount of oils is good for the health of your dog, but excessive oils catch dirt and allergens and can be harmful.  Every dog is different and you have to consider many things unique to you, your family, your dog and the environment.

No matter the time schedule you settle on, the product used to clean your dog is very important.  Be assured that at Muddy Buddy, we provide only 100% natural, PH balanced, groomer grade (washes effectively and rinses efficiently) shampoo and conditioner. 

There are several factors you should consider when deciding how often to wash your dog:

The breed of your dog:

  • Dogs that have dry skin should be bathed less frequently (once a month using a conditioner) than dogs with oily skin (every two to three weeks using a conditioner).  
  • Harsh-textured coats repel dirt pretty well so they don’t get as dirty as a soft-coated dog.
  • Dogs like Maltese, Yorkies, Afghans and Shitzus should be bathed once a week.  Their long silky hair requires regular cleansing.
  • Harsh-coated breeds, like Shelties and Collies, can be bathed every two weeks to once a month.  The hair texture does not capture dirt as much as the long silky smooth coat.
  • Breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs with thin coats and oily skin/wrinkles and crevices that capture dirt, debris, and allergens require special attention to  maintain and to balance their skin health.  Usually weekly to bi-weekly baths with in-between attention to their wrinkles can help maintain a yeast free dog.

The health of your family and your dog:

The health of your family

  • If anyone in your household is allergic to dogs, you should groom and bath them as often as possible – according to the American Lung Association, doing so will help remove the dander that accumulates on a pets fur – inhalation of dander being the primary cause of the allergic reaction.
  • If anyone in your household has environmental allergies such as to ragweed, grass or pollen, the dog accumulates these items on their coat and carry them into you every time they make even a short trip outside.

The health of your dog

  • Dirt and debris left in the coat is dangerous
    • Your dog will try to clean their fur by licking it. So they will ingest things like lint, flakes of paint, debris from automobiles, bacteria/disease laden dirt, and even asbestos fibers all of which can cause many internal problems.
    • Unlike humans who absorb allergens through their noses and mouths, dogs absorb allergens through the skin and the irritation can be a main cause of itching – to the degree of creating raw hot spots and sores.  If your dog has environmental allergies – it can be uncomfortable and change your otherwise happy and active buddy to be needy, clingy, miserable and irritable.
      • There are other physical and psychological causes to hot spots and irritations, only your vet can tell you for sure what the root cause would be – food allergies, yeast growth, stress induced scratching, etc. 
      • Weekly bathing can help reduce the irritants before they have a chance to be absorbed into the skin or ingested and using the proper shampoo treatment can help heal the hot spots and sores allowing fur to regrow and create a healthier coat and a happier dog.


The Lifestyle of you, your family and your dog:

  • Does your dog live indoors or outdoors, and does your dog sleep in your bed?
    • If your dog lives in your house with you and more importantly, if he/she sleeps in your bed, then you are probably going to wash your dog regularly–depending on the breed anywhere from once a week to once a month
    • If your dog sits on your sofa, you probably don’t want him dragging in dirt, poop, insects and other grime onto your sofa.
  • Do you take your dog to the dog park or running on the beach?
    • Do you know what is in the dirt/grass/mud/sand that your dog is playing in and is between their paw pads?  You can do your own “math” on that……
  • Does your dog play in the sand or dirt and roll in the grass in their own yard - that they use as their bathroom?
    • Again – you can figure out what is all over them.
  • Does your dog go swimming in your pool or backyard pond?  I have been told their dog doesn’t need a bath in the summer because they “wash themselves” in the pool or backyard pond.
    • Your pool (hopefully) is crystal clear as a result of a combination of chemicals – all of which are now attaching to your dog, then they lick it off and ingest them into their system – what they don’t lick off can irritate or burn their skin.  How do you feel if you don’t shower after a swim in the pool?
    • The backyard pond – with the intense heat of the summer, there is normally an overabundance of algae – yuck!   

Well, if you have a normal dog, they probably partake in several of the above activities– all of which warrant regular bathing. You have to think of the tradeoff. Your dog’s coat may be marginally drier HOWEVER, they will be cleaner, smell better, healthier, and most important you will be more likely to give a clean dog lots of love.

But remember to use a gentle pet shampoo and conditioner and you should brush your dog daily. Weekly bathing can prevent itchiness, washing allergens away before they get a chance to penetrate the skin. Also, frequent brushing stimulates skin health by bringing secretions from oil glands onto the skin.

Contrary to popular belief washing your dog every week to every month IS good for your dog and the reasons are more than just skin deep.

So at the conclusion of all of this – the answer for MOST dogs is to wash them once every week to once a month, depending on the above circumstances.  Every dog and family/lifestyle condition is different, assess your personal situation and find your “sweet spot”.  You know your dog the best so can gauge changes in their physical condition and adjust your schedule accordingly. 

The Top 5 Dog Allergies:   

You may have thought that allergies were reserved to humans, but unfortunately man’s best friend shares similar seasonal discomfort with us.  While dogs don’t manifest their allergies in the same way as humans do (runny noses and puffy eyes) they suffer from allergies all the same.

  • Food - Unlike humans, dogs aren’t born with food allergies.  Most food allergies are developed in response to certain foods they’ve eaten for a long time; often times proteins and grains are at the root of the problem
  • Bacteria - There are numerous germs or Staphylococcus common to dogs. The trouble rises when your dog becomes allergic to one of them. You will begin to see small, round bald spots.
  • Fleas - Those small insects cause big problems!  If you get them inside your house make sure to wash all your bedding in hot water and vacuum carpet thoroughly.  Flea bites on your pets often irritate their skin causing inflammation and other types of skin infections. 
  • Atopy - Atopic dermatitis, Atopy and Canine Dermatitis are names for skin conditions in dogs, often those allergic to airborne allergens. Potential allergens can include pollen, dust mites, trees, weeds, mold spores, even people dander.  So whether the dog is inside or outdoors many allergens lurk in the air.

To protect your canines make sure to bathe and brush them often to remove pollens grasses and other allergens. Bathing dogs every week or as often as is necessary depending on the breed is important.  Since environmental allergens are usually absorbed through the skin, weekly bathing can prevent itchiness, washing allergens away before they get a chance to penetrate the skin. 

  • Contact - Contact allergy isn’t too common in dogs but it often proves to be the toughest one to spot. Taking a careful look in choosing your dog’s flea collar and avoiding certain fabrics such as wool and down in pillows can save your dog from a terrible itch or skin irritation.

Hopefully this list informs you of something that can help protect your dog from certain allergies.  As always, make sure to consult your veterinarian for any serious problems.  




Shampoo AND Conditioner??  Which ones?


DO NOT use your shampoo on your dog.  They contain different ingredients, are designed for different PH balances and to address different conditions.  You may not notice the ill effects of human shampoo if used only a couple of times, but after repeated use, you’ll start to see the results.

  • Ingredients:  Dogs have different problems that humans do. The makeup of dog shampoo is unique to meet those needs whether it be for oily, itchy, yeasty or just stinky skin and coat.  Humans have a tendency to bath more regularly than we bath our dog and do not have to address those extremes – your dog will appreciate using the correct shampoo to create a clean and healthy skin and coat.  .
  • Ph Balance:  A dog’s skin is about 7.5 while human skin is about 5.5 (to put it in perspective, water is about 7.0). Therefore, a dog’s skin is more alkaline so ideally a dog’s shampoo should be between 6.5-7.5 or it could be irritating to the skin. Highly acidic shampoos may also diminish the hair’s protective qualities, removing valuable oil from the coat and skin. The result is dry, irritated skin and a dull coat. Of course it’s a vicious cycle because the dog will scratch which only makes the problem worse.
  • Dogs have sensitive skin:  A dog only has about 3-5 cell-layers thick while we have about 10-15 layers thick. So, harsh shampoos with lots of chemicals and those that aren’t PH balanced will be irritating.


Shampoos by design are used for cleaning- removing unwanted grime from the skin and coat. But shampooing, without sealing the coat afterwards, leaves the hair shaft open– at that point residue can enter and oils and hydration escapes.

What you can do is use a conditioner after shampooing to close the hair cuticle and restore hydration, moisture and elasticity.

Conditioners also fill in the damaged hair that drying, brushing, dematting and rubbing causes. Just normal wear and tear chips away at the hair cuticle. Conditioners can help to remove the cuticle to a smooth state and one that gives a more lustrous appearance and feel.

So, in a nutshell it’s definitely better to use the right shampoo and conditioner on your dog than not.  Some dogs benefit more than others from conditioner, here are some of the specifics:

  • Long Coats if your dog has a long coat, then it may be prone to mattes and tangles.  Using a conditioner will not only make your dog’s coat healthier it will make your job a lot easier by helping to remove mattes and tangles and the after bath brush out will be a breeze.
  • Undercoat Dog’s without undercoats will probably receive the most benefit from a conditioner. Because their hair most resembles human hair, it’s thin, easily tangles and gets dirty quickly. Dogs with undercoats usually have thicker coarser hair (like a lab) and therefore do not matte and the coat tends to repel dirt.  Whether your dog does or does not have an undercoat, use of a conditioner will benefit the health of the fur.
  • Wash Frequency If you wash your dog often (more than 1x per month) you should definitely condition your dog to close that hair shaft so the coat retains moisture.
  • Itchy Skin If your dog has itchy skin , you may want to bathe your dog more often to get rid of allergens. And if you’re washing your dog frequently, conditioner is a good idea.
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